For our very first edition of Read a Book, Fool! we are picking a book that we personally just finished. Mark Twain is no doubt a legendary writer, but few people have read Roughing It -- Twain's semi-autobiographical narrative of his adventures through the American West and back as a young man in the late 1840's.
Roughing It is a fantastic historical account of the Gold Rush, Guilded Age economics, and the railroad boom, while still containing plenty of Twain witticisms and rants to keep the reader bound to the book's pages.
The cover of our version is also pretty awesome.
What really makes the book go is Twain's acute social observations and his sarcastic jabs at anyone and everyone he encounters. Remarkably, many of his observations still ring true today.
Most quotable: "I frieghted a leaf with a mental message for the friends at home, and dropped it in the stream. But I put no stamp on it and it was held for postage somewhere."
Best character: Besides himself, the most likely fictitious run-ins that the author has with noted outlaw Jack Slade paint a great picture of the era.
Funniest moment: Twain's quip about Bringham Young's wives is pretty spectacular, but the funniest occurrence is no doubt when Twain and his partner squander a fortune in gold due to a basic miscommunication.